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Nice Time! Damn Near Every Adult In Georgia Is Registered To Vote
No wonder the GOP wants to be able to overturn elections.
New federal data show that Georgia has among the highest rates of voter registration in the USA, thanks mostly to the state's system of automatically registering everyone to vote when they get their driver's license. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the nice-time details:
There were nearly 7.2 million active registrations in Georgia as of November's election, leaving just 387,000 unregistered people in the citizen voting age population, according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission's biennial report published Monday.
That amounts to 95 percent of Georgians over the age of 18, hooray!
The paper notes that the majority of those who aren't registered are ineligible because they're currently serving sentences for felonies:
Over 265,000 Georgians couldn't vote because they were incarcerated, serving parole or on felony probation, according to data from 2019 compiled by Reform Georgia, a criminal justice advocacy organization.
At least Georgia allows voting by felons who have served their time, but still owe financial obligations like fines or restitution.
Now, the good news does come with a bit of a caveat, which we'll bring up to the front instead of the end of the story where the Journal-Constitution put it:
However, there might be more unregistered voters in Georgia than indicated by the report from the Election Assistance Commission. The commission relied on census estimates from 2019 rather than updated figures from the 2020 census.
We did some very superficial Googling, and darned if we could find a definite number of voting-aged Georgians for 2020. We're sure it's 1) out there and B) we didn't want to spend too long going down a rabbit hole to find it.
The 2016 change in Georgia's driver's license voter registration system really makes clear how much a small change in procedures can make a huge difference: Prior to 2016, drivers could register to vote by checking a box on their paperwork. Now, they're automatically registered, although they can opt out, also by checking a box on the form. And just look at how that changed things!
Automatic registration significantly increased Georgia's active voter registration rates, from 76% in 2016 to 95% in 2020, the federal data shows.
So with such awesomely high voter registration, surely wingnuts will be justified in screaming that there's no such thing as voter suppression in Georgia, because look at that 95 percent registration rate, you liberal hypocriteses! That might be pretty compelling, if we were talking only about voter registration, but that ain't voting, now is it?
Georgia's awful voting law, let's remember, is simply lousy with measures designed to make voting more difficult, not because there's any especially compelling reason for any of them. The New York Times put together a handy-dandy list of 16 provisions in the law that restrict access to voting in one way or another, from small inconveniences like reducing the amount of time when people can request absentee ballots, to annoyances like the ban on providing food or water to voters waiting in line, to big glaring outrages like the measure that allows the state legislature to suspend county election officials and replace them with someone who'll count the votes the way Republicans want.
The goal in voter suppression, after all, has changed from the bad old days when white supremacists tried to disenfranchise Black voters altogether. Now, the aim is to make voting just difficult enough to disqualify a few hundred likely Democratic voters here, to discourage a few thousand Democratic voters there, so that Republicans have an advantage in a tight election.
It's all very scientific, and if there's a county, like Fulton, where people insist on voting mostly for Democrats, well then the election officials can be swapped out, too, which is exactly what's happening right now , as Republicans seek to take over election administration in Fulton County. You know, to restore confidence in the vote, although weirdly the voters in Fulton County are not at all confident a Republican takeover of their elections is a good idea. Ha! Like they'll be allowed to do anything about it.
So hooray for all the registered voters in Georgia. Sure would be nice if they could be confident their votes really count going forward.
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